Torii Kotondo

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Torii Kotondo
Born21 November 1900
Died13 July 1976
Movement Shin-hanga

Torii Kotondo (鳥居 言人, 21 November 1900 – 13 July 1976) or Torii Kiyotada V (五代目 鳥居 清忠) was a Japanese painter and woodblock printer of the Torii school of ukiyo-e artists. He followed his school's tradition of making prints of kabuki actors ( yakusha-e ) and involvement with commercial work for kabuki theater. His twenty-one bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) are particularly celebrated.


Life and career

Kotondo was born Saitō Akira (斎藤 信) in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. Torii Kiyotada IV  [ ja ], the seventh head of the Torii school of ukiyo-e artists, adopted Kotondo at age 15 and trained him in the school's specialty producing yakusha-e , portraits of kabuki actors. Kotondo studied painting under the yamato-e painter Kobori Tomone  [ ja ] from 1914 and under Kiyokata Kaburagi from 1918. Most of Kotondo's woodblock prints date from 1927 to 1933. [1]

Kiyokata influenced Kontodo's bijin-ga portraits along with shin hanga designers Goyō Hashiguchi and Itō Shinsui. In 1925 he exhibited some of his bijin-ga at the Inten exhibition. He designed twenty-one prints of bijin-ga which typically were sold in the United States. Seventeen of Kontodo's prints were shown at the seminal shin hanga exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1936. [2]

Authorities considered Kotondo's print Morning Hair of 1930 provocative and banned it after seventy of its hundred copies had sold and had the remaining thirty destroyed. [3]

When Kiyotada died in 1941 Kotondo became the eighth head of the school and took the name Kiyotada V. [1]

Kotondo lectured at Nihon University in Tokyo from 1966 to 1972. [1] Collectors did not place high value on Kotondo's prints while he was alive; the prints have since appreciated in collectability and fetch prices comparable to those of the great masters. [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 Merritt & Yamada 1995, p. 155.
  2. Torii Kotondo (1900-1976) The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints
  3. Harris 2011, p. 85.
  4. Harris 2011, p. 78.

Works cited

  • Harris, Frederick (2011). Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN   978-4-8053-1098-4.
  • Merritt, Helen; Yamada, Nanako (1995). Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN   978-0-8248-1732-9.